Scarlett 2i2 Query

I’ve recently got the Scarlett 2i2 but have a problem trying to record acoustic guitar. I’m finding that the volume is low and the microphone I’m using, Behringer XM1800S is only about 6 inches away from the guitar before I get a reasonable recording, although still quiet. This is with the gain knob almost at the maximum setting. Vocals are not a problem. I’m using GarageBand as my DAW. Any advice would be appreciated :+1:


That’s the nature of the beast of the dynamic mic.

Dynamic mics are designed in a way so that they don’t pick up the “background noise”. Your microphone has a super-cardioid pickup pattern which means it will mainly pick up the sound directly in front of it, so you might have an allignment issue.

You want to play around with positioning your microphone and see what gives you the best sound. But a good starting point would be to get it as close to the source as possible. 4-6 inches, pointed towards the soundhole/higher up the neck.

I have never used this microphone, but I read some comments online and it seems like you do need to run it with a bit more gain to get decent volume out on acoustic guitar recordings.

I would say play around with the mic position and you’ll find something that will sound good eventually.

Also, I am sure others will chip in some useful info!

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Thanks, much appreciated :+1:

I agree with @glpguitar And would suggest not pointing the mic directly at the sound hole. That may lead to a boomy/bassy sound.

Perhaps start by bring it in even closer and aiming directly at the guitar level with the neck somewhere between at the point where the neck joins the body and the soundhole.

Once you have the guitar recorded in GB, then you can try to boost the signal. I mean amplify the signal with the track fader still set at a 0dB adjustment. No idea how to do that in GB as I am a Reaper user but sure it will be possible. Ideally you want that recorded signal to be averaging in the range -18 to -12db with peaks up to -6dB. That is a good level for the recorded track.

If your signal:noise ratio is not good then you may find you get an audible noisy hiss when you amplify the track. With the right noise filters I find I can filter that out when I encounter it. I use Waves Xnoise but you may find GB comes with some filters, or you could try an EQ tool to reduce the noisy hissy frequency. Assuming that happens.

You can then balance it with the vocal track using track faders. Once you have a good balance, then you can adjust the volume of the combined on the master track. I always leave the master fader at 0dB and use a limiter plugin to raise the volume to the desired level.

That of course assumes you have two recorded tracks. If you are trying to record guitar and vocal simultaenously with the dynamic mic, then you will have to experiment to find the optimal spot somewhere between mouth and guitar and the orientation. That would depend on the loudness of guitar relative to singing.

If making a simultaneous recording of voice and guitar with a single mic I would suggest you consider getting a large diaghram condensor mic. This needn’t be super expensive though probably don’t want to buy the absolute cheapest on the market. Lots of reviews and if that is appropriate you can post questions and get lots of recommendations.


I feel I’m now entering the infamous ‘rabbit hole’ now that I’m wanting to record stuff! Ach well it’s only money eh?:joy::joy::joy:


Hi Ian. Nice to meet you.

Acoustic guitar recording actually involves a lot of technical details (people say it is hard, eh?) So to make things simple you could use two Shure SM57 and X/Y stereo recording technique to record your acoustic guitar. And make sure it is point at your 12th frets, there you go =)

Personally, I use mid-side recording that use one condenser and one dynamic microphones. I mean, there are actually a lot of things going on where I need to add the effects in DAWs later to get the stereo effects. :sweat_smile: In mixing jargon, this technique is mono compatible.

You might be better trying to record with a cheap condenser mic which will capture “everything” in the room ( they are generally very sensitive) and can record an acoustic guitar and vocal very nicely. I would never use a condenser in a live environment but for recording they can sound very good. Obviously the disadvantage is that you won’t have separation of your vocal and guitar.

The above said if you are using a daw to produce a recording I would just record a track at a time. Record the guitar first and then record your vocal to it as a second track. That’s the way it’s fine in the studio generally.


Hi Ian

There is the option of using an under saddle Piezo Pick-up, or a slightly more expensive Pickup using Microphones. It is a small change to the acoustic. Think about LR-Baggs. Then plug it in your Scarlett 2i2 with a normal Jack. All the recordings I make are made using the pickup and pre-amp on my acoustic, and the mic is for vocals on the other channel, connected with the XLR.

If you (really) want to record with a mic, the condenser mic does have advantages, it picks up pretty much everything in the room. Good ones are also expensive.

The dynamic mic is mostly relevant to learn how to sing on stage, which is very close to the mic, as is explained in the other responses.

Maybe this video would help you along.

1 microphone vs 2 microphone

Have fun recording!

Kind regards,



Yes Ian its a slippery slope you are now on…


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I also have dynamic mic and as written above they are designed in a way that they need quite a lot of gain to reach acceptable level if you are not really close to the mic. A usual approach to fix this is to use a mini (pre-)amplifier - there are two relatively well known products always mentioned in this context: the Fethead and the Cloudlifter - the Fethead (the cheaper of the two) is around 70.- EUR.
It is of course a questions how expensive your mic was and wether it is worthwhile to fix this by investing even more money (or decide for another mic - see condenser)

These thingies lift your incoming signal before reaching the preamp of your Scarlett and leave you more headroom with your gain knob. I use the Fethead with a dynamic mic and the Scarlett 4i4 and can say it helps to lift the gain by 20db.

Also as already mentioned - for recording at home it might be a good alternative to use one (or two) condenser mics - they are avoided on stage as they capture everything - whereas dynamic mics mainly capture what is close to them (and that is ideal for live).

Hi Ian,
FWIW when it comes to recording acoustic via a microphone I’ve been using a condenser, it’s far less sensitive to positioning as others have mentioned but the flip side is you may get other unwanted background noises so where you are recording is a significant consideration. I take it your acoustic does not have electrics so you can direct line it into the 2i2?


I’ve got a couple of electro acoustics but want to record the Martin. What condenser mic do you use Mark?

I bought the studio pack when I got my 2i2 so I’m just using the bundled Focusrite condenser. This recording below is using it, it was maybe a foot and a half away from me and roughly in line with the guitar sound hole I think. Gain maybe halfway but that’s scraping the barrel of my memory!!

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Recording is an educational and at time frustrating rabbit hole. I’ve had good luck with the mic about 4~6in from the 12th fret while pointing it to where the neck meets the body, but that’s for how I personally play.

The guitar, strings, pick (or no pick) you use, how aggressively you play, room you’re in and even where you strum (close to the bridge vs. neck) all affect the recording. Plus, every microphone responds differently. YouTube and other places offer good general advice, but the reality is that there’s no one-size-fits all. Don’t get tunnel-vision based on suggestions like I did. Try things and see what really works for you :+1: .

It may be boring, but I’d suggest experimenting with the mic positioned at different distances and angles. Put the mic at the 12th fret pointed at the neck, and record an open G. Then repeat that process but with the mic at the 12 fret pointed at the soundhole. Then again but move it to the 14th fret, or maybe the bridge. Compare all the recordings and go with what sounds best to your ears. As others have noted, in front of the soundhole is generally the danger zone. :boom:

It’s easy to think buying new gear will fix a problem, but I’d always advise to ensure you’re educated with recording as well as familiar with your current gear before making new purchases. Once your understand all the variables involved and find you are being limited by your gear, then consider upgrades/alternatives.

It’d be pretty gutting to drop 800 bucks on a condenser to find you still have the same (or new/different) problems.

Good luck, and most importantly have fun!

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I’m sorry if this has been asked before but (this seemed a good place), when using the Scarlett and the software that came with it, can you record multi-tracks simultaneously such as guitar and voice each on separate tracks?

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With a Scarlett 2i2, which has 2 input channels, yes.

Thanks @jjw1 so it has 2 independent output channels too?

Yes it does.

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Ben, I appreciate your advice. However, there’s zero chance of me spending 800 anything on a mic!:joy:

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Yes - Multi-Track recording is supported by the 2i2 hardware and Ableton Live Lite (which comes with the Scarlett).